‘As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; They kill us for their sport,’ says Gloucester in Shakespeare’s King Lear, and how prophetic that phrase always turns out to be. The Bard’s timeless words resonate just as deeply now as they did four centuries ago.
What am I referring to when quoting Shakespeare, you ask? Of course, the latest in a series of eyebrow-raising measures, or, rather, lack thereof, by the government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
I’m not going to beat about the bush: what is currently happening is utter madness. First we open our airports to everyone and their mother regardless of where they hail from, including the UK and Spain, which rank among the top ten in the number of confirmed cases worldwide. Then we refuse to ask tourists to get swabbed as soon as they get to Malta, placing everyone’s health, from that of hotel staff to shopkeepers’ and restaurateurs’, in danger. And then, to add even more insult to injury, we allow mass events on an epic scale to take place here, while welcoming the said tourists from countries which are deemed to be high risk.
- Prime Minister Robert Abela tells us that it’s going to be business as usual.
- The Superintendence of Health is not releasing the reopening plan to the media.
- It’s now taking people up to an hour on the phone with 111 to book an appointment for a test in a week’s time.
- The official page of the Ministry for Health is, by mistake or design, not regularly showing the daily update on its main newsfeed.
All this, while our numbers are doubling and tripling. And please don’t blame the migrants who disembarked yesterday. Yes, their numbers add to our toll, but they’re not the ones going round spreading it. They got off the boat, got tested, and were put in isolation. They are not a threat to our health.
I don’t know which games everyone thinks they are playing at, but this idea that a life lost here and there is nothing to worry about is ridiculous. We let migrants drown at open sea, we pretend to update laws related to construction and people still die, and now we’re taking it a step further by just pushing anyone who’s vulnerable straight into the lion’s mouth for the sake of a few parties and tourists who will supposedly save our economy.
I’m truly fed up of people saying that those pointing out the obvious are ‘engaging in fear mongering’ or that the numbers we had during the supposed ‘thick of it’ speak for themselves. The numbers in Malta weren’t low just because the government took action.
- They were low because many businesses also closed down out of their own free will before the government asked them to.
- They were low because people called for schools to be closed.
- They were low because the public, for the most part, decided to take a step back from going out or meeting in groups.
While I applaud the work done by those in charge of our public health, it’s also important to take a step back and realise that they wouldn’t have managed it without the voluntary sacrifices made by many.
I’m also really tired of people attacking every medical organisation on the island that dares speak up and tell the government what it should be doing. They are the experts and they are also the ones on the frontline. Who are you going to ask for help if you or your loved one gets sick? I doubt the answer is Robert Abela.
Yes, the economy has suffered due to COVID-19, but anyone who thinks that having people die and lots of people sick or in mourning won’t suffer equally is deluded.
Malta has more to lose by having this virus run rampant than it does by containing it through effective measures. And yet, we’re all acting like the virus is a hoax.
Ultimately, there is one thing that needs to be stated: people like Minister Chris Fearne and Professor Charmaine Gauci are paid through our taxes to protect our health not our economy. And I truly hope they know what they’re doing and that any serious illnesses or deaths that result from lack of action are on their heads. After all, while we may not be able to stop the virus, we can surely help lessen its spread by not allowing four huge parties to take place over the next few months, no?
Meanwhile, others like Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli, MHRA President Tony Zahra, and Prime Minister Robert Abela should be a lot more careful with their words, because who do they think the people are going to turn on if things go down the drain? You’ll hardly be able to blame them seeing as all these people seem to talk or care about are euros.